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article imagePepsi gets extension and new attorney in Mountain Dew lawsuit

By Leigh Goessl     Jan 21, 2012 in Business
Madison - This past week PepsiCo hired a new attorney to represent the company in a lawsuit filed in 2009 by a man who claims he found a mouse in a can of Mountain Dew.
Ronald Ball alleges he found a mouse in a can of Mountain Dew he purchased from a vending machine at work.
In addition to a new attorney, the corporation also was granted a two-week extension to respond to the plaintiff's amended complaint.
According to Madison Record, attorney Michael Nester and the law firm of Donovan Rose Nester will now be handling the defendant in this case; the firm has represented many corporate cases, according to its website.
The Madison Record reported the Cassiday Schade law firm withdrew its representation of PepsiCo on Jan. 18.
The lawsuit filed by Ball alleges he was subjected to a foul taste after opening a can and taking a sip of Mountain Dew in 2008. The plaintiff says he spit out the soda and poured the rest of the contents of the can into a cup, where a mouse came out of the can.
Digital Journal reported on this case Jan. 4. At that time PepsiCo was scheduled to answer or plead to the plaintiff's second amended complaint (filed Nov. 28) in Madison County, Illinois Circuit Court on Jan. 11. The company had been granted 28 days to answer.
On Jan. 17 by County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth granted PepsiCo an additional two-week extension to respond.
This case made headlines earlier in the month after an affidavit surfaced by an expert who said the small rodent would have dissolved in the can by the time the beverage made it to the vending machine. The expert, Lawrence D. McGill, holds a PhD. in veterinary pathology.
In the April 3, 2010 affidavit McGill had testified, "If a mouse is submerged in a fluid with the acidity of Mountain Dew," the mouse would "between four days to at most seven days in the fluid, the mouse will have no calcium in its bones and bony structures."
McGill had indicated the mouse would have been malformed into a "jelly-like" substance after spending 30 days in the sugary beverage.
This implied there was no way Ball could have found a mouse in a can of Mountain Dew because the critter would have been dissolved by the time the can of soda reached the vending machine. PepsiCo said 74 days had passed since the can left the company's bottling facility in St. Louis, Missouri where it had been sealed.
McGill said the mouse he examined was no more than four weeks old at the time of death. Ball claims PepsiCo destroyed the mouse sample and now he cannot have independent testing done.
Eddie Unsell of East Alton, Ill., who is representing Ball, had previously said his client only filed the lawsuit after PepsiCo accused him of lying. Initially the plaintiff had gone straight to the company with his complaint.
Earlier this month Toronto Star reported Unsell said either McGill's science was wrong or PepsiCo fabricated the date the beverage was bottled. The attorney also indicated witnesses saw Ball become violently ill after drinking the Mountain Dew.
Ball is seeking damages in excess of $50,000. A trial is expected sometime this year.
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